Choose Life

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I have an idea… Put down the lap top, stop tweeting, facebooking, and save the instagrams for when you return from an awesome day, weekend or even week-long adventure. Take pictures with your smart phone, share. Enjoy, make memories. Experience! That’s happiness… Live small and dream BIG. Take chances, travel. Visit all the places you once envisioned yourself going. Make it happen, because there is only so many days you can live. Choose Life!
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People often say they don’t have time, money or the “know how”. But the simple truth is, if you wanted to experience you would… I understand financially it can be hard. Believe me, I understand. I’m a single father with a mortgage and 2 growing boys who will eat everything in the refrigerator in a day. I work a 9-5 job, make a decent living but by no means am I a rich man. Even if you make it out for a day or weekend, you can find time. One day a week is not a lot to ask for your happiness, your sanity. Get away, chase a dream. Even if it’s just a weekend warrior dream. You can make time.
Jeremy Arnold in Blue John Canyon

 
Jeremy Arnold in Blue John Canyon

     I know when you get home from work your tired. You still have to make dinner, clean the house, do yard work and take care of the kids. This can be exhausting, but if I can find time doing this all by myself, (and still make it to the gym) so can you. Here are some tips to managing time:
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– Try and prioritize your duties and responsibilities. Do what needs to be done first.
– Make a list of daily chores. Do them in little increments. When you come home from work, do one chore an evening. If you don’t try to do everything at once, it’s not that overwhelming.
– Get the kids involved. If you can’t find time to get outside without the kids, bring them with. They will appreciate getting away from the wifi.
– Go on a short day hike, climb close to home. If you get out somewhere close, you can easily make an evening trip, or a single day adventure.
– Hiking, climbing, whatever your outdoor adventure is, can be amazing exercise. This taking the place of going to the gym for long, sweat dripping hours.
Me pullin' down on Watermelon Sugar 5.12A Maple Canyon

 
Me pullin’ down on Watermelon Sugar 5.12A Maple Canyon

     Money… We all think we don’t have enough money to actually do all the adventures we seek. But the reality is, most times it doesn’t cost more than staying home. Think about it, when you’re at home, you have to eat, you use power/water/gas… If your off on an adventure, your utility bills aren’t sky rocketing from the 40+ hours of T.V. your watching weekly. Ask yourself a question and be honest. How much time do I send watching T.V., surfing the Internet? Both activities using power, costing money. You probably have the AC or the Heat running all the while… And I’ll bet your watching a show about adventure, or reading an Internet article, wishing you we’re the one experiencing it. Here’s a few tips to help you save money while still getting outdoors:
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– Find an adventure buddy. You can split cost of gas, food, park entrance fees. It doesn’t cost nearly as much when the cost is cut in half, or thirds.

– Save a little from each paycheck, even if it’s just $10-$20. It usually doesn’t cost more than a $20 to do a single day adventure. And a week-long isn’t more than a few hundred. Most of which will probably be gas.

– Look for cheap affordable or free camping near where you plan to adventure. If your back packing, camping is usually free if you are a mile off the road.  But always check local rules, some areas require a back country permit (which are typically affordable).

– You don’t have to eat steak daily. Dehydrated food packs can be quite cheap, they don’t taste bad and make  large portions. And all you need to do is add water. Snacks are an easy way to stay nourished on the trail as well.

– When you first start adventuring, find experienced adventure friends who already have most the gear. They can help you pick out quality gear at a good price for what you will need. Who knows if it will even be your cup of tea? Don’t go buy the top of the line gear if your unsure you will even like it.
Sean Kenny climbing Sprout 5.13A Maple Canyon

 
Sean Kenny climbing Sprout 5.13A Maple Canyon

     And last, but certainly not least, the “know how” to do specific adventures. Newbies always say “I’ve always wanted to go climbing, but I don’t have the gear..? I don’t know where to go back packing..? Or, I’m afraid I’ll get my arm caught under a boulder and have to cut it off..? All these are good, understandable reasons to stay inside your home. Safe from all the scares and dangers of the outdoor world. But they’re really just excuses. Here’s some tips and where to get the “know how”:
Testing some future gear

 
Testing some future gear

 – Take a class… Local community colleges or climbing gyms offer climbing classes. They will teach you the basics on how to get started. And they usually have gear you can rent. May be the best choice, as you don’t even know if you will enjoy it.

– REI has classes every month on different gear usage and maintenance. Plus, I believe they are free. Don’t be afraid to ask a worker at the local adventure shop “how to”. Most of them are seriously friendly and enjoy sharing knowledge.

– Join a hiking or climbing group on the Facebook. They’re everywhere. All you have to do is sign up and you will get daily emails informing you of the planned adventures. Then just RSVP. Most the people setting up the adventure are ready and willing to educate.

– Make a friend at the local gym. Ask someone if they would be interested in taking a newbie climbing or back packing..? If they don’t seem to enthused, offer beer. Works almost every time.

– If all else fails, but a guide-book. These usually have enough “know how ” to start small. They will tell how hard a climb is. How long a hike is. How much water you will need. Where to camp. And they always include maps. But be fair warned, start small. Don’t try to tackle the longest, most strenuous hike in the guide first thing.
Me at Dog Lake in BCC Photo by Shawn Parry

 
Me at Dog Lake in BCC
Photo by Shawn Parry

     So there you go, a few tips to hopefully help you “get outside”. Enjoy life and see the beauty this world has to offer. You won’t regret it. You’ve seen the inside of your shell, you see it everyday. Don’t you think it’s time to get outdoors and do something amazing? There’s nothing more majestic than the natural beauty of our planet. Share a memory with a loved one, make a new friend, or just spend sometime reflecting on your own past. You might find a whole new person…
Choose Life

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